What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
So I just finished Animal Farm this morning. What a great book. The intriguing part is that it was written about Stalinist Russia, yet as I read it I drew countless parallels to our current administration and political situation.
In the book, Mr. Jones (a human) runs the farm. The animals revolt, kicking out their enemy. The pigs (being the most intellectual creatures) take over, and essentially turn the farm into a dictatorship. Squealer (a pig), the representative of Napoleon (the head pig), uses the thread of Mr. Jones’ possible return for vengeance to keep the other animals in submission of Napoleon’s ever-expanding powers, decrees, and policies.
“Discipline, comrades, iron discipline! That is the watchword for today. One false step, and our enemies would be upon us. Surely, comrades, you do not want Jones back?”
Once again this argument was unanswerable. Certainly the animals did not want Jones back; if the holding of debates on Sunday mornings was liable to bring him back, then the debates must stop.
So as I read this, I increasingly thought about our current administration using the looming threat of Al-Qaeda sleeper cells, operatives, and planned terrorist campaigns as a way to submit the populace at large to ever-expanding powers, decrees, and policies. As a result, we have the Patriot Act, and as of a couple days ago, the heinous Military Commissions Act of 2006.
As further evidence, I just came across this page showing that the Republican National Convention is using Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in their new campaign ads, using fearmongering and the threat of terror as a way to subjugate the American people and court their vote.